Kumho partners with Finnish chamber music fest

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Kumho partners with Finnish chamber music fest

Kumho Asiana Group, known for its active cultural activities through the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation formed a partnership with the renowned Finnish Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in an attempt to broaden exchanges of artists between the two countries.

To start off, three Finnish artists including Vladimir Mendelssohn, the artistic director of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival who plays viola, have been invited to Seoul for a four-day concert with Korean artists at the Kumho Art Hall, which started on Thursday evening. The two other Finnish artists are violinists Prita Mitchell and Antti Tikkanen.

“This partnership is Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation’s attempt to learn from the renowned Chamber Music Festival which managed to grow despite being held at a tiny town called Kuhmo in Finland with a population of only 9,000,” said Kim Yong-yeon, vice president of the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation during a press conference on Wednesday at the Finnish Ambassador Eero Suominen’s residence.

According to Mendelssohn, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival is an annual festival held for two weeks in July, attracting about 50,000 visitors to the small town. The town’s 700-seat concert hall holds four concerts daily and remains full throughout the two-week festival.

“Korea’s classical music scene tends to focus only on large renowned orchestras or famous soloists,” said Kim. “But Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation has also been nurturing young artists in chamber music for many years and we share common values with the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. So we hope through this partnership, there are more opportunities for Korean artists to perform in renowned chamber music festival as well.”

Following this collaboration concert, Korean artists will also be invited to the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival from next year.

The four-day concert began Thursday evening by concentrating on Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), a Finnish composer and violinist whom Mendelssohn, describes as “the symbol of Finland.” Under the titled “The Time of Sibelius,” Korean pianist Kim Da-sol kicked off the concert with Sibelius’ “Valse Triste from Kuolema,” followed by a joint performance of “Scene with Cranes from Kuolema,” in which Mendelssohn on viola performed together with Korean violinists Lee Je-hye and Lim Ji-young, Korean cellist Lee Jung-ran, double bassist Lee Jung-soo and Kim on piano.

During the next three days, artists from the two countries will play various pieces including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Duets from the Magic Flute, Johannes Brahms Piano Quartet No.1 in g minor, Op.25, Johann Pachelbel Canon and Gigue for 3 Violins and Continuo in D Major, T.337, Antonio Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in E Major, ‘The Four Seasons’, Op.8/1-4, among others.

Tickets cost 40,000 won ($34.92). For more information, visit www.kumhoarthall.com.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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